Serving Up Opportunity

Who says Las Vegas doesn’t take care of its own?

Jazmyn Franklin was raised by hospitality workers on the Strip, graduated from Valley High’s magnet program in hospitality and now attends Penn State with a scholarship from Las Vegas’ Epicurean Charitable Foundation.

Franklin, who hopes to work in casino or hotel management, will enter her junior year this fall after a summer internship in MGM’s human resources department. After college, she’ll probably return to the Las Vegas Strip. “I love it.”

The Epicurean Charitable Foundation, which is made up of more than 40 local hospitality executives, has provided more than $1 million in scholarships to future hospitality professionals since 2001. The group just announced its 2012 recipients, all of whom have plans to enroll in UNLV’s hospitality administration program: Noah Shakespeare (Southwest Career and Technical Academy), Ajaha Johnson (Valley High School), Karen Nava (Valley) and Alexandria Von Mohr (Northwest Career and Technical Academy).

Scott Farber, president of the foundation and director of operations for Emeril Lagasse’s four Las Vegas restaurants, says it’s about both ensuring the continued quality of the hospitality industry and enhancing the relationship between the industry and the community. “One of our biggest focuses is on education and mentorship,” he says.

Franklin is one of Farber’s mentees—the two Skype to maintain a dialogue about her career development. “She’ll be a great addition to the industry, I have no doubt.”